Why Pros shoot the Nikon D3

Ask any pro why they choose the body they use and one of the first things you will hear is durability. Before I ever shot my first paid gig, I treated my gear like it was fine China. Well, after awhile you realize that the difference between getting a shot and letting one slip away is just “being there.” That means sometimes your gear gets banged up. However, I never expected my Nikon D3 to survive getting driven over by a car! …I cannot say the same for the lens

Let me preface this by saying that I was 50% dumb, which is why I was only reimbursed 50%.  That said, read on…

I was recently shooting a wedding and someone accidentally drove over my gear. They destroyed my 70-200 f/2.8 (what a horrible sound). My D3 was pulled and dragged under the car as the lens was trying to tear off the body. I caught the tail end of the incident, only to watch in horror as I lost over $4,000 worth of camera gear. The lens is now a sad looking paper weight. To my shock and surprise, I picked up the D3 and it still worked. Sure, it is pretty banged up, but it was actually able to limp to the end of the night and allow me to finish the wedding with both camera bodies.

D3 Damage Report:

1. Nasty Road Rash, I mean chunks of Magnesium Alloy are still left on the ground.
2. The F-Mount has slightly torn away from the body on the right (causing slight blur on that side shooting wide unless I compensate with an aperture of around f/7.1)
3. The Shutter Release/on-off system is a little whacked. I can tap it and it turns on. Thankfully, it stays on!
4. The Aperture wheel is a little tighter than before.

Other than that, it can still be used…at least until I have Nikon repair it. I mean, it works, but that is a loose definition.

Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 Damage Report:


Overall, this is a testament to Nikon’s professional gear. Any other camera body would probably be in pieces. Sure, it has some serious battle scars. But, it will live to fight another day! Yes, I did lose over $2,000 and I still have to pay Nikon to repair the D3 so it is operating at 100%. But, the important thing was that I was able to finish the wedding. I was paid to do a job and, as a pro, you are expected to complete the shoot. The Bride and Groom deserve nothing less. The D3 allowed me to complete the job. This is why I will remain loyal to Nikon, even more than before.

Did I get a little lucky?  Sure.  But, would a lesser body have allowed me to finish the day? No way.

Thank you Nikon.



18 thoughts on “Why Pros shoot the Nikon D3

  1. My D3 is like the Eveready bunny, albeit heavier, it just keeps clicking. No new Nikon camera offers the consistency, durability and performance that the D3 presents. And as for more pixels, enough is enough.

  2. Sorry to hear about the loss of your lens!
    Several years ago, at an early summer party in Montana, I forgot my D200 including mounted Nikon lens out on the back porch one evening. It started raining that night for several hours and I simply forgot about the camera until the next morning. The lens had fogged up bit, so I took everything inside, towelled off all exterior surfaces, removed the lens, battery and memory card, and let everything just sit and dry for a day. No loss of pictures. The D200 didn’t even sneeeze and kept working flawlessly since then. Long live Nikon!

  3. Nice Story Brother – but why did you leave your Gear on the Ground
    that something like a Car can drive over it ?

    Pro´s dont do that…………

    1. A better question to ask is why someone would leave $4000 worth of camera equipment in a position that it could be run over!

  4. Having just purchased a D3 recently, I’m amazed at the resilience of the camera that it withstood being run over and dragged by a vehicle many times it’s own weight and still performed…Just proves that the build of Nikon professional cameras are second to none!…I just hope that you can get the D3 and the lens repaired through insurance and not be out of pocket doing so! Good Luck!!!

    1. Thanks. My 2nd shooter is still using DX, so I mounted my 24-70 f/2.8 on my D3 and used his 18-70 DX lens on my D700, but i lost a lot of the frame. Thankfully, all I had left was the family formals and reception. I usually use the 70-200 for formals, but i was fine with the 24-70. the reception was easy with any lens and flash. I had to adjust, but not too bad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s